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Problems and Solutions
IDEAS: can be hard to find

Bad news is good news.

I learned that saying when I started playing the newspaper game.

It refers to the fact that disaster and crime articles sell more papers than stories about fund raising events and other kind deeds.

Recently, however, I realised that even in everyday life, what first appears to be bad news can turn into something good.

That’s what happened to me last week, and then again, this week… and the same misfortune was involved both times.

That would be the fall I had while riding my bike off road.

I wrote about it last week and I’d like to think some of you read that column and remember what happened, but for all the rest of you who didn’t, or don’t, here’s a brief recap:

I slid off a mountain path and wound up in a thorn bush with my bicycle on top of me while wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

I didn’t want to scramble my way out because the thorns had latched onto my skin and the direct approach would have resulted in a lot of blood, but there were stinging nettles in with the thorns so I also wanted to get out as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, my friend was there to help unhook me, but overall, I felt I’d been very unlucky to have fallen into such a painful location and I saw the incident as bad news.

That was Sunday. Three days later, however, I saw the situation quite differently.

That’s because every Wednesday I need to find something to write about in my next column.

It can be a real struggle, but once I remembered another accident where an 80-year-old friend soaked in a freezing river fora few minutes while his walking mate took photos, I was sorted.

I felt lucky that my mate didn’t go for her camera before helping me… and I also had something to write about.

And then this week, I got this story idea from the same incident, so now I feel almost fortunate to have fallen where I did.

Sure, it was painful, but it gave me two column ideas and it has drawn quite a few laughs when I have told the tale to friends.

Come to think of it, most of my best received stories have been about things that have gone wrong.

Buses that broke down in the middle of nowhere, starter motors that fell off my 4×4 in the Kalahari, mast cables that frayed while the 40-foot sailboat I was on was struggling through 25-foot waves far off the South African coast.

The list goes on and on and some of the mishaps were quite dangerous so I wouldn’t want to risk repeating them but those memories are much clearer than ones about journeys that went according to plan.

It seems to me, if everything went smoothly all the time I wouldn’t have much to write about… and a life without problems would probably be quite boring.

So, I guess some bad news really can become good news… especially once the pain goes away and it becomes a story.